Virgin Media has pledged to launch cheaper TV packages for football fans in time for next season, if the Competition Appeals Tribunal enforces a cut in the amount BSkyB charges rival broadcasters for Sky Sports, but believes that access to HD offers it the biggest potential rewards.
Berkett [said] that while the wholesale price cuts will "definitely benefit customers", for Virgin Media the real long-term financial benefit will be gaining access to high definition versions of Sky Sports channels. Part of Ofcom's ruling states that HD versions of Sky Sports 1 and 2 must be offered to rivals on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms".
"The real issue is access to HD, it is more important to us than the economics in sports packages," he said. "Customers will definitely benefit [from pricing cuts to sports packages] but in terms of financial performance this is more important. Now in 2010 us not getting access to HD supply [channels from Sky] is going to start to make a difference.